An Exclusive Love: A Memoir

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Overview

"A powerful and affecting memoir––reminiscent of Sebald." —Phlipp Meyer, author of American Rust
Chain-smoking, peculiarly stylish, stubborn, and eccentric—Vera and István were anything but ordinary grandparents. Sixteen years after their death, Johanna Adorján fills the gaps in their story. An Exclusive Love is a brilliantly constructed memoir and a gorgeous romance, a tale of two people who died as they lived: inseparable.
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An Exclusive Love: A Memoir

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Overview

"A powerful and affecting memoir––reminiscent of Sebald." —Phlipp Meyer, author of American Rust
Chain-smoking, peculiarly stylish, stubborn, and eccentric—Vera and István were anything but ordinary grandparents. Sixteen years after their death, Johanna Adorján fills the gaps in their story. An Exclusive Love is a brilliantly constructed memoir and a gorgeous romance, a tale of two people who died as they lived: inseparable.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“Editors' Choice: A spare, beautiful exploration.”
Diana Athill
“A truly memorable book.”
Elizabeth Berg
“Offers a prism through which one might examine and perhaps come to understand a most complicated act.”
Vivian Gornick
“Sophisticated intelligence, coupled with the sensibility of an artist.”
Susan Salter Reynolds - Los Angeles Times
“Elegance is magnetic, and so is lifelong love. The reader cannot take her eyes from them.”
Publishers Weekly
In a striking debut, Adorján mingles past, present, memory, and imagination to find meaning in the dual suicide of her charismatic grandparents in October 1991, when the author was 20. Noting the suicides of other concentration-camp survivors like Primo Levi, Arthur Koestler and his wife, and many others, Adorján asks, "Is it typically Jewish to kill yourself after you have survived the Holocaust--so then you determine for yourself how you want to die?" Effectively she re-creates the deaths of a still-glamorous couple; her grandmother, a woman in her early 70s whose enduring beauty recalled film stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, and her cigarillo-loving 82-year-old grandfather. Both survived the Mauthausen extermination camp after being deported from Hungary along with 600,000 other Jews. The author's search for the life experiences that led to such a haunting end takes her to Budapest, Israel, Paris, and Copenhagen and forms a living history of a passionately devoted couple that embodies much of 20th-century European Jewry. The pedantic details of the author's repetitive yet lyrical imaginings of her grandparents' last day are heartbreaking. Ending her book with excerpts from the police report may not have been the most poignant conclusion, but it is the most complete. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393340556
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/30/2012
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,372,676
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Johanna Adorján, born in 1971 in Stockholm, has worked as an editor and writer for various newspapers and magazines. A former theater and opera student, she has also written for stage and screen. She lives in Berlin.

Anthea Bell, OBE, is a British translator who has translated numerous literary works, especially children's literature, from French, German, Danish, and Polish to English.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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